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Dilip Ghosh makes ‘U’ turn, says not in favour of division of Bengal




Within a few hours after state BJP President Dilip Ghosh stood by Union Minister John Barla and advocated in favour of a separate state for North Bengal, he made a ‘U’ turn and said that no one spoke about the division of the state.

Speaking at a programme in North Bengal on Monday evening, Ghosh said, “No one spoke about Bengal, we are not in favor of state division.” Ghosh’s reaction comes within a few hours after he was criticised within the party for comment on the North-South division of the state.

“No one has said anything about any part of Bengal. The people of North Bengal, the people of Jungle Mahal have been deprived for 60-65 years. They are still going to other states for jobs. Studying, going out for treatment. Shawl leaves, weeping leaves are somehow living life. The demands of human development have not been met,” Ghosh said.

“The grassroots miscreants are taking chances and torturing people. As a result, the residents of these areas think that if they work together, there will be no improvement. So, they have demanded a separate state. The people’s representatives in the area have raised the voice of the people there. We are not in favour of any division,” he added.

Sources close to Ghosh said that he had to swallow his own words after he spoke about the division of the state. Ghosh had said in a programme on Saturday, “The entire responsibility of this lies with Mamata Banerjee. 75 years after independence why do the people of north Bengal have to go to other states for jobs, education and healthcare facilities? In Jangalmahal the situation is the same. Why the women in Jangalmahal will have to depend on sal and tendu leaves for livelihood. Why do they have to go to Odisha, Ranchi and Gujarat for jobs”.

“If they (The BJP MPs) have raised such demands (Bifurcation of the state), then it is not unjustified,” he added.

The remarks of Ghosh triggered debate across the state including the state BJP itself. Ghosh’s standing beside Union Minister and MP from Alipurduar district John Barla who has been demanding a separate statehood for long was met with a strong reprisal from the party itself. Senior leaders like Locket Chatterjee and Rahul Sinha spoke against Ghosh on the issue.

Chatterjee who is also an MP from Hooghly had said, “We never want a bifurcation of the state. The culture of Bengal is different. We live in harmony and Bengal is very dear to each one of us. Bengal will remain Bengal from north to south and east to west.”

Chatterjee who took part in drawing portraits of Rabindranath Tagore and sang his songs on Sunday in a program in Hooghly said, “Rabindranath celebrated aRakhi Bandhan’. Those who have Rabindranath in their hearts and minds and their hearts and minds can never divide Bengal”.

National secretary of BJP Rahul Sinha without naming anyone said, “Those who want to change the name of the state and divide the state geographically are insulting Rabindranath Tagore. There is still a section of people in the state who want to divide Bengal,” he said. Sinha narrated how Rabindranath started Rakhi Bandhan in October 1905 to protest against the bifurcation of Bengal.

“This is the time we should remind ourselves of the thoughts of Rabindranath. We should take the message at the state and national level and make people aware of the significance of Rakhi,” he added.

Political analysts believe that this dissatisfaction within the party on the partition of Bengal forced Ghosh to change his stand on the issue.


India reports 4,777 fresh Covid infection, 23 deaths




India on Sunday reported 4,777 fresh Covid infection in the last 24 hours, against 4,912 Covid cases reported on previous day, said the Union Health Ministry.

In the same period, the country has recorded 23 more Covid-related deaths, taking the national fatalities tally to 5,28,510 as per the report.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country presently stands at 43,994 cases, accounting for 0.10 per cent of the country’s total positive cases.

The recovery of 5,196 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,39,95,610. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.72 per cent.

Meanwhile, India’s Daily Positivity rate has been reported to be 1.58 per cent, while the Weekly Positivity Rate in the country currently also stands at 1.63 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 3,02,283 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 89.36 crore.

As of Sunday morning, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 217.56 crore.

Over 4.09 crore adolescents have been administered with a first dose of Covid-19 jab since the beginning of vaccination drive for this age bracket.

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‘Politically motivated’, Bilkis Bano case convict to SC on plea challenging release of accused




A convict in the Bilkis Bano case has told the Supreme Court that the petition challenging Gujarat government’s remission order is “speculative and politically motivated”.

The plea filed by Radheysham Bhagwandas Shah said: “This court not only on the ground of locus and maintainability, but also on the ground of such speculative and politically motivated petition, should dismiss the said plea with heavy hand and impose an exemplary cost so that such politically motivated petition by strangers are not encouraged in the future.”

The plea cited a number of the top court judgments, including Janata Dal vs H.S. Chowdhary (1992), Simranjit Singh Mann vs UOI (1992) and Subramanian Swamy vs Raju (2013), in which it was consistently held in clear terms that a third party who is a total stranger to the prosecution has no ‘locus standi’ in criminal matters.

The convict also referred to the apex court judgment dated May 13, 2022 on the merits of the case, which after hearing all the parties came out with a categorical judgment that only the Gujarat government’s policy of premature release would be applicable, which prevailed at the time of conviction and not a subsequent policy at the time of consideration of remission.

Shah was challenging the plea filed by former CPI-M MP Subhasini Ali, journalist Revati Laul and professor Roop Rekha Verma against the release of 11 men convicted for the gang-rape of Bilkis Bano and multiple murders during the 2002 Gujarat riots.

A similar plea was also filed by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra.

On September 9, the apex court had directed the Gujarat government to file all records, which formed the basis for granting remission to all the accused in the case. It directed the state government to file its response within two weeks and also asked advocate Rishi Malhotra, representing some of the accused, to file a response.

Shah’s plea contended that if such type of third-party petitions are entertained by the apex court, it would not only unsettle the settled position of law, but would also be an open invitation to any member of the public to jump in any criminal matter before a court of law.

Shah argued that the plea is nothing but a gross abuse of Article 32, as on one hand, the petitioners plead that they do not have the copy of the remission order and yet without ascertaining the reasons for grant of remission, the petitioners have sought quashing of the remission order.

It further argued that the apex court had categorically held that a total stranger in a criminal case cannot be permitted to question the correctness of a decision, and if that was to be permitted, any and every person could challenge a criminal prosecution/proceeding recorded day in and day out by courts even if the person convicted do not desire to do so and are inclined to acquiesce in the decision.

“Interestingly enough, neither the state nor the victim nor even the complainant has approached this court, and thus it is respectfully submitted that if such cases are sought to be entertained by this court, a settled position of law would certainly become an unsettled position of law,” Shah’s plea added.

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Ankita Bhandari’s body found from Uttarakhand’s Chilla canal




The body of Ankita Bhandari, a 19-year-old staffer at a resort in Uttarakhand who went missing a few days ago, was recovered from the Chilla canal in the state on Saturday and Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered an SIT probe led by DIG P. Renuka Devi to probe the murder.

The prime accused in the case is BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son Pulkit Arya.

Ankita, a resident of Dobhin Srikot, who used to work in the Vantara resort in Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal. She went missing on September 18.

The BJP has removed Vinod Arya as well as his other son Ankit following the incident.

Taking to Twitter, Dhami poste:, “Today morning, daughter Ankita’s body was recovered. Heart-broken with this heart-wrenching incident.”

On directions of the Chief Minister, the JCB razed to ground accused’s illegal resort on Friday night.

Strict action will be taken against the officers who were involved in the illegal construction of the resort, Dhami said.

“It is our resolve that the those guilty of this heinous crime will bot be spared,” he added.

Ankita’s family had lodged a missing complaint on September 21 with the revenue police and on the District Magistrate’s direction, the matter was trasferred to regular police the next day.

Taking cognisance of the incident, Ashok Kumar, Director General of Police, Uttarakhand, had directed the Superintendent of Police, Pauri for a speedy investigation into the incident.

Following their arrest, they told the police that after murdering Ankita, they threw her body in Chila Shakti canal.

Under the guidance of DGP Uttarakhand, the SDRF started search for Ankita in Shakti Canal, Chila Power House.

SDRF rescue team has been searching the spot and the deep divers were also looking for the body in the bottom of the canal.

The search operation had resumed this morning during which the body was found.

The body has been handed over to the district police.

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